Past News and Events (continued)
Silent Witness in Nottingham - 16th April 2011
This April marks 43 years of legal abortion in our land - but we won't be celebrating.
SPUC's Pro-Life Chains commemorate the 1968 Abortion Act - which has led to the loss of millions of innocent lives, and the suffering of so many women. Suffering like that of post abortion trauma, often becoming apparent only years later. One of the compounding factors for such trauma can be an initial denial of the gravity of abortion - as if it were simply 'over and done with'. The death of an unborn child is momentous, but with caring support - the truth can bring healing.
Please come and join us - give public witness to the truth behind abortion. We'll be on Trent Bridge between 10:00 am – 12:00 on the 16th April 2011 - gathering on the North-West (Nottingham) end of the bridge.
We provide the placards. Come for as short a time as you like. If bringing youngsters please be very mindful of the risks from heavy traffic in this location.
News and Events - 2010
Sr Roseann Reddy - 14th June 2010
We are delighted that Sr Roseann will be giving a talk in Nottingham, about the Sisters of the Gospel of Life.
This is a new religious order formed by two young women in January 2000. The women took this initiative when the late Scottish Cardinal Thomas Winning invited any woman facing a crisis pregnancy, or suffering in the aftermath of abortion - to come to the Catholic Church for help. He did this in classic Christian style - without preparation and stepping out in faith. Today the sisters have helped many women.
Come and hear Sr Roseann explain the link between the religious life, and the right to life.
The talk is at the Cathedral Hall in Nottingham, at 8:00 pm. The hall entrance is from North Circus Street, Nottingham NG1 5AE. All welcome!
This year's silent witness took place on 17th April 2010 at Trent Bridge. Were you there?
This year we sponsored two young people from Nottingham, to attend the 3rd International Youth Pro-Life Conference 19-21 March 2010 in Glasgow. Here's one of their reports:
"I study Religious Studies as an A-level, and hope to continue with this subject to do Theology at University. When the chance to go to the conference was put to me, I thought it would be a great opportunity to aid my learning on ethics. I never thought, however, it would change my views on abortion and euthanasia. I was moved by the speakers and what they had to say, the days seemed to fly past and you got to learn so much in such a short space of time. The people there were amazing and at no point did you feel uncomfortable or awkward. Once a speaker would perform his speech, everyone became so enthusiastic and the environment felt so incredible.
Not to mention the hotel, food and its services were fascinating. I was amazed to find out that it was only a four star hotel (it could easily have pulled off as being five). The people were really friendly there and I even got the chance to use the sauna and swimming pool. I also didn't think that I would throw myself into the feeling of SPUC as much as I did. I left the conference with several badges, a t-shirt and several leaflets about the conference and different organisations. I have joined on the SPUC facebook page and wish to go on a conference like this again with more people than last time.
It is truly an experience which will be hard to forget (especially when I ate a friend marsbar...[deep-fried] ok, I know it sounds disgusting, but I really wanted to try part of the Scottish culture). I would love to do this kind of conference again and would highly recommend the trip to other people. In a couple of years time, I hope to join on the SPUC team and try and do my bit.
I would like to thank you all for helping me get to the conference and giving me the wonderful opportunity."
Review of 2009
From our chairperson's report at the close of the year:
"As we complete one year, and start to plan ahead to the next, it is salutary to review the activities of the branch during the past 12 months. In generally chronological order:
- Bi-monthly meetings (January, March, May, July, September, November)
- New treasurer and signatories for branch account – March
- White Flower appeals at St Barnabas’Cathedral, Cotgrave, Holy Spirit West Bridgford, the Good Shepherd Arnold – January
- Challenge Team (putting the case for sexual abstinence to young people) into local schools - February
- Meeting with RC Bishop McMahon to discuss church support for SPUC – February
- Briefing for parish priests on activities of SPUC written by group, okayed by HQ and local groups – May
- Briefing sent out to all parishes by Bishop’s secretary - October
- Silent Witness: Pro life chain on Trent Bridge – April
- Fun run, parish meeting and networking in St Francis, Long Eaton
- National Conference in Derbyshire - September
- Information stand at Holy Spirit parish West Bridgford – September
- Speakers’ conference in Birmingham – September
- Support for bi-monthly street stands in the city centre
- Donation of £300 to HQ for national campaigns
- Networking for ‘This is my body’ SRE programme with the C of E diocese of Southwell and Nottingham – October
- Support for the SNM gathering in Sheffield - October
- Debate at the Institute of Ideas - October
- Midlands regional meeting in Loughborough - October
- Support for the cathedral’s young adults group
- SPUC stand at the Cathedral’s Evangelisation Live event - October
- School based sexual health clinics campaign – talk to governors at the National School, Hucknall, on teenage pregnancies – October
- Meeting with director of the Briars youth retreat centre - November
- Talk to the Bishops’ Conference Bioethics Committee - November
- Revision of website to improve access for school groups to educational resources - November
- School talks
- Christ the King – February
- Landau Forte Derby – March
- Kimberley – March
- Toothill – October
- Ratcliffe College - December
- National, Hucknall x 7 – October- November
A highlight of the year was undoubtedly our meeting with Bishop McMahon, which we felt to have been successful, in redressing misconceptions about the work of SPUC. Since then, Bishop McMahon has become the spokesman for the Bishops’ conference on education, a role of great influence.
Another highlight was the number of abortion talks delivered in schools, and the improvements to our excellent website which followed. Contact was made with the Briars, a contact which could prove fruitful in the future; and the parish of St Francis in Long Eaton is being cultivated as a source of support.
The prolife chain, at a new venue, was more visible than before, and provoked more responses.
Once again, there was an emphasis in our activities on education: changing the climate of opinion in the longer term. During the coming months, with a general election approaching, we will need to focus our efforts as much as possible on raising awareness and supporting the national campaign through local political initiatives.
Our group finances are sound. In September we were able to order new resources from conference and USA; and to donate £300 to HQ.
There can be no doubt that we could have done more. But given the constraints of our situation, and the lack of full time, paid school speakers, this list constitutes a significant achievement for just one small local group.
As chairperson, I would like to record my thanks to members of the group for their dedication and commitment to the prolife cause over the past year, and indeed over many years."
News and Events - 2009
Silent Witness - April 2009
41 years of legal abortion - 7 million lives lost to a social solution.
The Abortion Act of 1967 requires a number of conditions to be met, before an abortion is allowed to go ahead. Today the vast majority of abortions are performed for social rather than medical reasons, with doubtful lip service being paid to the terms of this permissive legislation.
Many people consider there can be exceptional reasons to take a life. Say in times of war where force might be the only way to defend the innocent against an aggressor. But who would say it is right to deliberately target the life of someone entirely innocent of any crime, someone who's only action in life, had been to start out on the great adventure of life itself. People don't come into existence by an act of their own will, a choice to be convenient or inconvenient to others. No, each one of us has been brought into existence by others.
If we conceive a new life, should we be free to choose how that other person will live? Who they will serve, when they will die?
"Every child a wanted child" is a slogan used to argue that children who are not wanted, should be eliminated. Are children a commodity to be stacked, served and disposed of as others find convenient?
A better slogan would be "Every child deserves to be wanted". Wanted by their parents, certainly, but what about society? Why shouldn't society help out when parents find it difficult to cope? Well you might point to cost? Time? Self sacrifice? All these points matter, but then there is the flip-side of the equation. If children are helped to grow up well in a supported and loving home, they are more likely to become productive, tax-paying, helpful members of tomorrow's families and of society. They might even become carers of older people who gave life a chance!
That's why members and supporters of SPUC stood on Nottingham's Trent Bridge last Saturday. "People probably think we're nutters" one woman said as she held a banner up to the passing traffic. "But we have to do something.." she continued. Something about what you may ask? How does it help to stand on a windy bridge?
Well it plants a seed, a thought, which can grow, to change our society from the self oriented "I can't" and "I want" that prevails in what we pro-lifer's call the "culture of death", to build a "culture of Life". What does that mean? Well simply it means: "Every child is wanted for his or her own sake".
You know it's right, so join us, and help form tomorrow's "culture of life".
Oh, and by the way, is it just women who build the culture? Or is there a place for men. A role? A need? The next time you hear someone say "it's a woman's right to choose", just remember, that the choice may be about a tiny pre-born girl, who deserves a dad to provide for her too. Likewise, do you want a society where only the women care? It takes "two to tango", and the worst thing a man can do when a woman confides she is pregnant, is to say "I respect your choice if you want to abort". That really says, "yeah, you're on your own". Don't think so? Then just compare that to a woman who hears her man say: "I'm gonna be a dad!" If she hears that she knows he'll be there for the baby, so he'll be there for her too. And if not her man, then who'll support them, her dad, her brother, her community, society at large? It's a lot to ask, but all we can do is make a start, and plant a seed of a thought or idea.
Check out this year's international student pro-life conference. In the past we've helped students linked to Nottingham with conference costs - we can't promise to always help out, but if you want to go except for some or even all of the cost - tell us!
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill
We've been campaigning on and off throughout the year as the Bill went through its various stages. Sadly the Bill was passed with a huge majority on 22nd October 2008. It marks a large stride in the advancement of the "culture of death", but things don't have to stay that way, and SPUC-Nottingham will continue to carry the message that Human life has inherent dignity in all its stages, from conception to natural death.
This year's conference was held close by in Derbyshire so it was handy to attend. Highlights included:
- Prof. Jeronima Teixeira on the mounting evidence that unborn children can feel pain from as young as 6 weeks, in a context that offers greater protection for unborn animals than humans in the UK.
- Exciting progress from youth workers in SPUC Scotland.
- Jakob Cornides - Independent Human Rights Expert - on Conscientious Objection to Abortion.
- Dr James Sherley - presented a very clear scientific analysis of the lack of logic in the pro-killing approach to life, emphasising how the human state is a continuum from conception through gestation, childhood, adulthood and old age.
40 Years of Mistakes and Regret
On Saturday 26th April 2008 we marked the 40th anniversary of the implementation of the Abortion Act in our land. Legalised abortion has now seen the loss of around seven million lives in Britain over these years.
The event mirrored others across the land, from Worthing on the south coast to Newcastle in the North, over 50 pro-life chains were held this day. Ordinary people stood by the side of an ordinary road, because abortion affects ordinary lives: mothers and children alike.
We now know that abortion hurts more than the child whose life is taken. So our banners not only call out to avoid the evil of abortion, but reach out to help those who suffer living with a decision that can't now be reversed. Whether through lack of information, or difficult circumstances, or lack of support, the pain of having killed one's own unborn child can be much the same.
We're not about 'turning the clock back', but rather about working towards a time when women are supported, and men understand the consequences of their actions, where the law doesn't just offer cynical cheap quick fixes that harm the fabric of society. For how can a society that kills its own children in their most innocent and needy state in the womb - how can such a society remain decent?
The event went smoothly, and we're grateful to those who came and those who could not - but supported us in other ways on the day. Cars drove by with occupants displaying a variety of reactions. Some were thoughtful, others refused to look, a few made rude gestures, but many showed interest, concern and even support. One or two drove by shouting their pro-choice slogans. Because ours was a silent witness, we mostly stood by in silence, but one wonders: isn't it better to help women to make a good choice. How can killing your own innocent child be the answer to anything? It may seem that way at first, but ultimately it just creates more problems.
If you weren't with us today, please ask yourself if it's OK to miss such events in the future. We all lead busy lives, but spare a moment to think about how we live in a democracy. Decision makers listen to what people think, and if people who know right from wrong remain unseen and don't register their views, then how are things to change for the better?
These have been held in a couple of Nottingham's suburban centres. Typically people show positive interest, particularly in the foetal models - there is good conversation, and we've gained some support with the campaign against the HFE Bill. Of course not everyone agrees with us, but without an exchange of ideas what would free speech mean!
The Challenge Team visited the area at our Chair's instigation. Some members joined them at a couple of schools and reported that this is a worthwhile witness and education for children, encouraging a positive culture less likely to foster the attitudes that make abortion so rife.
Teen Pregnancy Figures
Members heard an overview of the latest available figures (for the end of February 2006). Apparently the numbers for under 18s were slightly down and those for under 16s were very slightly down, but the percentages of teen pregnancies ending in abortion were higher. Nottingham conception rates were up over the last few years, in spite of initiatives to provide more clinics / school clinics etc. This supports our concern that wider availability of contraception and abortion just leads to riskier behaviour.
January saw our annual general meeting and social gathering: good company, good food, and good conversation! If you'd like to joins us see the contacts page.
40 Years of Mistakes and Regret - October 2007
Saturday 27th October 2007 marked the passing of the Abortion Act 1967.
Silent No More! - May 2007
The national Silent No More campaign came to Nottingham on Saturday the 12th of May. Shoppers passed by quietly as ordinary women gave their harrowing testimonies. Many people stopped to hear about the aftermath that abortion brought to the lives of these brave women. And of the healing they eventually found outside of abortion services.
These were extraordinary yet everyday accounts. And this was an apparently ordinary, yet truly momentous day. For this was almost certainly the first time in Nottingham, that the truth about abortion was publicly spoken on the streets - by women who know. These were not professional speakers, or extremists, but ordinary women. Women so frustrated at the lies they'd been told as they'd been sold on abortion, that they were now prepared to stand up and be 'silent no more'.
More 2007 Highlights
Street stands in West Bridgford in March June and October.
Annual Pro life chain (silent public witness)
Sponsorship for student to the SPUC national conference in Leeds.
When a West Bridgford school decided to introduce a clinic providing the morning after pill to girls, Nottingham Branch helped efforts to inform parents about what was really involved. Our contribution included leafleting, an open evening, and publicity on the local radio stations as well as mention in the press.
- AGM October 2006
- National Conference 15-17th September 2006
- Pro-life Chain - 29th April 2006
National Conference - September 2005
Just a reminder that this year's national conference will be 16-18 Sept.
Undying flame - June 2005
The undying flame came to the Good Shepherd Church in June. Events included a Mass of Reparation, Holy Hour, an information evening, prayer events and a final 'Mass of Thanksgiving for Life'.
Silent Witness - April 2005
Our roadside witness event turned out very well, thanks to those who came and those who could not but supported us in other ways on the day. It was also very good to have 3 of our colleagues from Lincoln branch along this year. Afterwards, members heard from a number of acquaintances who'd seen them on the day and later expressed approval. There were also many favourable responses from passers by, with no acrimony. Excellent weather as well!
Celebrate Life Rally - October 2004 in London
This is not a SPUC event per-say but we lend our support.
Information Evening - February 2004
An open information evening on pro-life issues and the work of SPUC, was held at the Holy Spirit Church Social Centre in West Bridgford, including:
- a presentation on abortion
- information on care for women who have had abortions
- time for questions.
Mass Lobby of Parliament 27-28th April 2004
Our group had 8 members attend the 'Mass Lobby': an occasion to talk to local MPs about concerns over the Mental Incapacity Bill provisions and how it might facilitate euthanasia. Many in the group reported interested responses from their MPs.
Choose Life Day (29/6/2003)
29th June was "Choose Life Day". At least 14 people made up the Nottingham contingent, among what looked like a total turn-out approaching 4,000 people. The main parade was around a dozen people wide along the entire length of one side of Whitehall: fronted by a figure dressed as Archangel Gabriel on his charger, the Holy Family, the Ark... Earlier on, at Trafalgar square, our people heard a number of motivating speakers, saw various children's entertainments and enjoyed excellent weather throughout. Afterwards some attended an excellent musical requiem for the unborn at Westminster central hall, then Mass at Westminster Cathedral. Finally those who still had legs beneath them helped light thousands of candles on Parliament square. The level of reporting on the event was disappointing: sympathetic elements in the press missed an important and colourful piece of news!
Anyone for Cricket? (8/6/2003)
A couple of local churches (Holy Spirit and The Assumption) kindly arranged a sponsored cricket match in support of both SPUC & Life. The match took place on Sunday 8th June, at the West Bridgfordians Cricket Ground.
Spectators braved stormy weather to see the Assumption Beeston team beat the Holy Spirit CC by 12 runs. Thanks to all those who took part or supported.
Pro-Life Chain (26/04/2003)
What could be more worthwhile and important than to peacefully witness for those with no voice? Or to raise awareness of how mothers can be traumatised by the deliberate taking of their unborn children's lives? On Saturday 26th April 2003, a number of our members and supporters commemorated the 35th anniversary of the effective date of the Abortion Act 1967, by a pro-life 'chain' along Gregory Boulevard. This 'chain' was a peaceful act of witness consisting simply of standing by the roadside with placards bearing short statements in support of the unborn. Passers-by took the opportunity to discuss issues, while motorists and their passengers expressed a variety of views. We feel sure that at least some people will have thought more about these important issues as a result of our witness.
Morning After Pill in Nottingham Schools (01/04/2003)
The 1st of April 2003 marked a truly authoritative and informative presentation by Dr David Paton at our public meeting at the International Centre, Nottingham. A concerned and captivated audience heard soundly researched evidence about current policies aimed at reducing teenage pregnancy through the provision of access to birth control. One of the causes for concern here, lies in the potential side effects of the Morning After Pill on young girls, not to mention any children they might conceive. Yet a major part of these policies is confidentiality, which means that at school, the very place entrusted by parents with the care of their children, it is possible for daughters as young as 11 to be put repeatedly at risk without the parents ever being told. Whilst parents might be aware of a particular school's policy on the Morning After Pill, they are often powerless to opt out. Many of course would not choose to do so, since the real issues are so rarely aired, that the fear of a daughter becoming pregnant seems greater than any qualms about pills. But what if the facts were more widely known? Facts like:
- the Morning After Pill contains doses of steroids some 25 times higher than the 'contraceptive mini-pill'
- two such pills are taken in 12 hours.
Of course it is not only the parents who can be kept entirely in the dark. Unless the daughter agrees, the GP won't be told either, so who will know what has gone wrong if the young woman becomes ill? Ectopic pregnancies are more likely after the Morning After Pill has been taken. Even worse, there is no research to show that providing these pills in schools will actually reduce teenage pregnancy. Add to this the danger that the Morning After Pill in schools will encourage youngsters to have unprotected sex and may contribute to the epidemic of sexually transmitted infections amongst the young. Isn't it time for a rethink?
Dr Paton is the author of "The Economics of Family Planning and Underage Conceptions" and Head of the Economics Division Nottingham University Business School.
Family Planning for Under-Age Women?
Dr David Paton, a Nottingham SPUC member, spoke at the SPUC 2002 National Conference last September, in his capacity as Head of the Economics Division at the Nottingham University Business School.
He explained about his research, published in the prestigious Journal of Health Economics, which demonstrated that recent UK policies to increase access to family planning for under age women had not reduced rates of under age pregnancies or abortions. The controversy surrounding the publication of David's research lead a group of MPs, including both those who are pro-life and those who are pro-abortion, to call for local authorities to monitor the impact of new policies like:
- providing the morning after pill in schools and in supermarkets to under sixteens without their parent's knowledge,
- on pregnancy,
- on abortion and
- on sexually transmitted infection rates in their areas.
Pro-Life Chain 2002
On the 27th of April 2002 we commemorated the 34th anniversary of the effective date of the Abortion Act 1967, by a pro-life 'chain' along Gregory Boulevard. This 'chain' was a peaceful act of witness consisting simply of standing by the roadside with placards bearing short statements in support of the unborn. Some passers-by took the opportunity to discuss issues and one even asked to hold a placard with us.
Undying Flame 2002
Early in 2002, the Undying Flame (see picture) visited the Cathedral Church of St Barnabas in the centre of Nottingham. The Flame was and remains a prompt to us all: a focus for meditation, prayer and action in support of the unborn - that they be given the proper respect all humans deserve.
The official arrival of the flame was preceded by a 'liturgy of life' by pupils of the Trinity School, Nottingham. The students left an inspiring display of thoughts and prayers which stood as a back-drop to the Undying Flame. The official arrival on the 21st March 2002 was marked by mid-day Mass at the Cathedral, at the end of which one of our local members gave a short talk, emphasising the very current challenges facing society's most vulnerable members and everyone's collective part in this. The flame remained at the Cathedral until the second week of May.